Friday, October 12, 2012

Vol.155: Politics, Pop Culture and the new Mumford

     Good morning ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I am a new writer with the GOEM and I'm writing this in hopes that it entertains and enlightens. It has been another busy week filled with the highs and lows of morality and repugnance. It has been a week filled with Politics. The two seem to go hand in hand don't they, and especially in the stretch run of a Presidential Election the stench can be overpowering; we love to gawk at car crashes.
     So, I will begin with last evening, Thursday the 11th of October, 2012. The scene, Centre College in Danville, Kentucky; the stage for the only Vice Presidential debate, between Uncle Joe Biden and Paul "the Raccoon" Ryan. I wish that one of the campaigns would come up with a plan to eliminate aging and illness, as that would be an easier, less complicated, less-mind-numbingly boring fix than the numbers and percentages that were being sprayed about through their venomous spittle last evening when Uncle Joe wasn't interrupting the Raccoon or when the Raccoon wasn't trying to playing Mouse to Biden's ol'Cat.
     The first question of the evening lobbed over the fence of debate decorum was on the subject of Libya and the terrorist attack that took place on the 11 year anniversary of 9/11. Uncle Joe said that they will investigate "wherever the facts lead us." It was obvious to the present administration that the reasons behind the terrorist's successful killing of 4 Americans, including a U.S Ambassador was due to a failure in the "intelligence community."  Failure due to lack of awareness in the intelligence community? Or simply a lack of intelligence in the community? News has come to light that the present administration had prior knowledge of a possible attack on the embassy in Benghazi. How could they have let it happen? Failure in intelligence they say.
     I however believe, that once again the attacks are being used by the present administration to lead us into another military confrontation in the Middle East. Benghazi for all we know is another False Flag attack, i.e; Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin and most likely, 9/11. It, like the drumbeats for war against Iran, is nothing more than a manufactured False Flag attack, in order to manufacture homeland support for the escalation of military intervention in the Middle East, i.e; Syria, Iran and which would inevitably lead into Jerusalem. I also suspect that the release of the upcoming Ben Affleck directed film ARGO, is nothing more than the subliminal propaganda of the powers that be to get the American people to support a military resolution in opposition to Iran's supposed goal of a nuclear weapon. Movie scripts sit on the shelves for years in Hollywood before they are made into motion pictures, and when they need to roll out support for something, they get a talented stooge to do their bidding unknowingly. They couldn't get Spielberg to do it, because it would've looked too obvious that Israel was behind it; trust me, there is nothing that Bibi Netanyahu would like more, than for the U.S. to continue to support Israel in a military defense of Jerusalem while he expands Israeli settlements.
     Earlier in the week, Mitt Romney said that "Obama hasn't done enough to eliminate turmoil in the Middle East." The last time I checked, no one has been able to do that, ever! Somebody should have told that to Jesus and Mohammed. I think that they use to work for Bain Capital, but then had to be let go and find freelance work on their own; times were tough. Then again, I don't think the two of them ever paid taxes, so they must have been part of the 47%. Someone must have forgotten to tell the Romney/Ryan ticket that they weren't included in their "3 bottom lines" that they have in their platform. 3 bottom lines? What does that mean? It's really really really highlighted and important. We underlined it 3 times; I can't make this stuff up.
     What are the specifics on the elimination of tax deductions in order to close the deficit Mr. Raccoon? We the American people, still don't know what those plan to be. Sometime during the debate, I found myself wishing a crowd member would have thrown an American flag onto the stage to see which candidate would be able to wrap both arms and legs around it and writhe on the ground like a dog in heat. All the while "the unraveling of America" is occurring right before our very eyes. But sadly, it's not just America. It's Americans as well in the shape of one time heroes. For example, Lance Armstrong may just be another in the long line, of win at any costs hypocrites, whom allegedly had cheated to win the Tours De France 7 times. 7 times! It's just another example of our culture of systemic cheating at any cost. Our short term memories are disgusted and then move on. What else is on the television? It was the lead story on the BBC America news on Tuesday evening. Not a word about the Libor Rate scandal. Libor. Look it up when you have the time. It's no big deal, just trillions of dollars that were manipulated by the Banksters in England. Let's focus on Lance Armstrong instead; but has our American mainstream free press mentioned much about it? Nope. The math is too complicated. Ohhhhh, shiny new I-Phones!!
     Then, there's the thugs, the idiots, the murderers that call themselves the Taliban in Pakistan, who feel threatened by women with an education. So, they decided to shoot a 14 year old girl named Malala in the head, because she was an outspoken supporter of education for girls. Despicable. Cowardly and insane are these Islamic Fundamentalists, or Fundamentalists of any sort who feel threatened by progress and education. It's sad. Really, really sad.
     In China, you can go to a new fancy restaurant, and eat while sitting on a toilet, while eating out of a miniature sink or bath tub; which leads to me think, I don't want to know what they're eating. Ahhhhh. It reminds me of Kramer in Seinfeld installing a garbage disposal in his shower. "Come on Clarkmen!?" Some progress and some regress. To each their own, just don't kill anybody over it. Please.
     Then there is a CEO in Florida who is threatening to close down his business if Obama gets re-elected and is therefore urging his employees to vote for Romney. There has to be a law against this sort of behavior, but then again, it's one man's freedom of speech and we all know how the Supreme Court feels about Corporations; i.e; Citizens United ruling: Corporations are People. That's where we are as a country and a world in a nutshell.
     Which finally leads me to ask, where has all of the quicksand gone? It used to be all over in the television shows in the 70's and 80's, and now, it's nowhere to be found. Maybe it's because most of the middle class is stuck in it, and the need to put it on television would be like trying to get a politician to be honest; pointless. Maybe it's been replaced instead with our love affair with zombies. What does that say about our culture? Do we see ourselves as brain-dead, greedy, hungry and dead-inside just stumbling through our lives from one chaotic scene to the next? I hope not. There is the 8th Annual Zombie Pub Crawl this weekend; and remember, we are in 2012. The cycle of upheaval and massive cosmic change is shifting under our feet as I speak. There are tornado storms on the surface of our Sun the size of the state of Texas!!! All of that energy has to go somewhere, and believe me, it's coming.  


Thelonius Ronscpiacy

Mumford and Sons: Babel

Three Chords and (an Inconvenient) Truth

Chris Hammes                             

  “I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I my dear?”  That line is of course from, “Little Lion Man”, the single that made Mumford and Sons a mainstay on college and alternative stations since Sigh No More debuted in 2009.  It would also be fitting criticism for the bands’ sophomore attempt, Babel, which is also the name of the title track.  Everything that sounded unique and fresh about “Little Lion Man” sounds repetitive on this go-around.  Almost without exception the songs follow the rock formula that Nirvana made famous two decades ago, Quiet/Loud/Quiet.  Scream-folk if you will. Unlike the Mighty K.C. however, Marcus Mumford is unwilling or unable to use his voice as the instrument lacking in the bands lackluster arrangements.  Perhaps it’s my untrained American ear, but Mumford has the musical range that William Shatner brings to acting roles.  The depressing nature of his lyrics, combined with his monotonous delivery, made for the musical equivalent of sitting next to a freshly divorced drunk guy at the bar.  You want to hear him out, you know he’s hurting, but you want to yell at him “Get over it, buddy.”

            “I Will Wait,” the first single from the album, is (big surprise) one of the albums stronger songs.  Obvious reasons abound for releasing your best song as a single first, but the advent of musical piracy was fueled undoubtedly by one-hit wonder containing albums.  What bothers me about “I Will Wait,” however, is that it’s not indicative of the other songs on the album.  “I Will Wait” has an upbeat, jangly, banjo-driven beat that will get the feet moving, and the harmonic singing of the verses is a perfect counterpoint to the gospel like way Mumford sings the chorus of “I Will Wait.”  It will be a big hit with the festival crowds that Mumford and Sons will be touring in front of because it’s dance-friendly, and the songs’ simple chorus is drug-friendly.  Hippie chicks and Flic-your-Bic men rejoice!  When Marcus Mumford is singing at his best, he has a style that is reminiscent of Dave Matthews, and the band clearly doesn’t fit the simple label of Folk Rock.  This song, more so than the others anyway, feels upbeat.  Babel might be great background music for killing a bottle of whiskey, but most of its songs would be better background music for killing a party. 

            “Babel” sounds a lot like “Little Lion Man” to be sure, but it’s missing the uniqueness that song had.  “Little Lion Man” had a cool bass line, and the sparseness of the arrangement made its’ words stand out clearly, and the surprise profanity made it memorable.  “Babel” has the same fast strumming, the same intensity “Little Lion Man” did, but if they were making a musical reference to Bob Dylan with lines about the “watchman’s son” or the “wind that will howl” it was lost on me.  It sounded bland, and by third song of the album, pretty damn familiar. Someone should introduce Marcus Mumford to Taylor Swift, so the two of them can compare notes on getting dumped. The other band members play an assortment of drums, keyboards, and more exotic stringed instruments such as the dobro, mandolin, and banjo throughout the album. Those instruments get lost though, behind the relentless acoustic guitar strumming, and Mumford’s grumbling lyrics.  Even the other singers, who sound so well singing in harmony throughout “I Will Wait,” just sound like an echo of Mumford’s monotonous delivery. Two exceptions were “Hopeless Wanderer,” and “Lover of The Light.”  “Hopeless Wanderer,” at over 5 minutes in length, could be considered a “jam” song, and its lyrics and feel are reminiscent of The Grateful Dead. “Lover of The Light” captures Mumford in “Dave Matthews” mode, especially through the chorus, and the rest of the band give a passable DMB impression as well. Banjo, mandolin, and keyboards all stand out clearly in the song, not drowned out by heavy acoustic strumming like so many of the other tracks.  Those are the exceptions, however, and you’ll notice I didn’t say either was particularly good.

            Feel good music, Babel, certainly is not, but the dark themes aren’t the albums downfall, it’s the boring music that accompanies the message.  The band took the blueprint of “Little Lion Man” and tried for 12 more songs that would capture the spirit, and unfortunately the whole dozen came up woefully short.  Nice try, I guess.  My recommendation is save your $15.  If you want a similar type experience for the price of a cup of coffee, try this instead:

1)    Go to your local coffee shop on “folk night”

2)    Ask the barista if you can read his journal

3)    Take the seat directly next to the guitarist  

5 Corgans=Buy It

4 Corgans=Burn It

3 Corgans=Stream It

2 Corgans=Mock It

1 Corgan=Punch a band member in the face.

Subscribe below.

No comments: